Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bought some pens

I went out and bought some pens. I found I was looking for pens at times so I just got some to sprinkle around so there should be one handy now.

I splurged a bit and bought some nice pens. I bought the Sanford uni-ball pen. These are quality pens. Made in Japan.

We used to have them in the office at work in the past, but then work cut back and stopped ordering them. I was looking for this pen because I really liked them when we had them in the past at work.

I ended up getting an 8 pack of pens. I got them at Staples. I didn't really need an 8 pack but that was the only box size so that was what I got. It was $10 for the box, so around $1.25 per pen.

It's a little bit pricey, since you can buy pens 10 for $1. However I feel it is a good purchase. The bic and paper mate pens cost 10 cents each for a reason. They are cheap, made in China. The hard plastic is cheap and uncomfortable to write with. The uni-ball feel pleasant to write with and the ink flows easier and looks better.

The box of pens should be good for around 5 years. So the $10 expense over 5 years is like $2 a year. For the amount of writing you do around the home for lists, cheques, forms, letters, notes, messages, all kinds of stuff it is worth $2 a year to have quality pens.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Car repair

I took my car in for some repairs. It had the check engine light.

I took my trusty 2005 Civic to Creaser's. They are pretty good. I've been there before.

The problem was a downstream O2 sensor. Unfortunately the Honda warranty on it ran out about 10,000 km ago so I had to pay it myself. Most of the cost of the repair was for the new part. It only took about an hour total for them to get the part and fix it.

Creaser's is a good garage. They took over for Tony's auto service. Tony was a good mechanic.

This is the first big repair I've had to do on the Civic. A couple years ago I blew a tire in the middle of winter. Luckily that was covered under warranty and Portland Street Honda just took care of it and didn't even charge me. They said they would get the coverage on it from Honda. They are a good dealer Portland Street Honda.

Hopefully my Civic will run relatively trouble free for a good while still. I'll be glad when it's paid off. I have about 2 and a half years to go on it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Not crossing the Mackay bridge

I was going to take my son to his hockey practice tonight. Practice was at 7 PM in Musquodoboit Harbour. That's about an hour from where I work in Halifax. I left at 5 PM, expecting to be there in plenty of time, with lots of time allowed for traffic delays.

I didn't make it though. The trip started well but when I got to the Mackay Bridge, incredibly the bridge was closed! During rush hour!! The Macdonald bridge was hopelessly backed up and there was no way I'd be able to take him to hockey.

What happened? It turns out there was a 5 car accident on the bridge during rush hour. Nice one, idiot. And you know it was some idiot who caused it. Speeding, changing lanes repeatedly to pass, jamming his car into the narrowest spaces, cutting people off, anything to get an edge on his fellow drivers. One person was rushed to hospital in serious condition. I hope it was the person who caused the accident.

The roads are just lousy with this type of dangerous, aggressive driving. Even before I got near the bridge I noticed a lot of bad driving. Leaving Bayers Lake near the Wendy's this clown pulled out fast to pass me on the right barely between me in the left lane and a big truck right in front of him in the right lane. As a result of this dangerous and inappropriate move he was able to pass me and gun the light to take the left turn on "orange", i.e. somewhere between very late yellow and red.

Later on Dutch Village near Le Bar I "slowed", coasting at around 30 km/h as there are a couple of crosswalks and often pedestrians and cars trying to take the right off Percy street. Some young male idiot in a black sports car blasts past me on the left to get ahead. Then he cuts from the back of the right lane turning onto the overpass ramp to go to the front of the left Bedford lane. When the light went green he gunned it and cut off the guy waiting his turn at the front of the right hand overpass lane to cut in front of him and get an edge. His moves could have killed a pedestrian or caused a big accident but I guess he did save perhaps 20 seconds of time for his trouble.

As for the "left lane to Barrington Street only" at the Mackay Bridge. Screw that! What a joke that is. I see people all the time going left and then trying to cut in line at the very end, offering the people who waited their turn in the correct lane the choice of letting them in or being in an accident.

So with the dangerous and aggressive driving I see all the time on the road, especially at rush hour, it is no surprise that there are so often major delays on everyone as the result of accidents caused by the idiots. I wish the police would crack down more on the excessive speeding, tailgating, dangerous and improper passing, lane jumping, and gunning yellow/red lights. I'm so sick of pedestrians getting run over and massive delays caused by stupid reckless accidents.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Farewell Halifax Daily News

I was saddened to hear the Daily News has shut down.

I'd been a fan of the DN for quite a while. I was a subscriber back in 1996-1997 when I was taking the bus to work. I liked to read it on the bus ride. Starting in 1997 there were a lot of new expenses and stuff to do so I let my prepaid subscription lapse and never got around to starting it again.

The early 1990s was a good period for the Daily News. They had a diverse and strong roster of columnists including Tom Regan, Stephen Kimber, Peter March, Charles Saunders, Parker Barss Donham, and Ted Byfield to name a few. And Mou's cartoons were really good. Sometimes he went too far but that was part of the charm. You might not agree with what the columnists wrote, but they did challenge you to think about things and be aware of different perspectives.

It's tough for the newspapers. Modern consumers don't need to rely on the papers to filter and decide what we need to know about. Consumers can drill directly to what they think is important and get much more detail.

Starting in the mid 1980s with expanded cable tv, that brought channels like Muchmusic, CNN, TSN and ESPN. It got easier for people to bypass the newspaper and get more detailed coverage of stuff they were interested in.

So for example with the newspaper football fans had to wait until Monday to get 1-2 text paragraphs and a box score on the Jets NFL game if we were lucky. Starting in the 80s we could watch NFL Primetime on cable and get detailed game highlights and analysis on Sunday night.

With the Internet the competition is even more. I can get NFL coverage, full transactions, news groups to talk football with other fans, detailed game reports, betting lines, and all the team game history going back years 24 hours a day for only the cost of Internet access.

When something interesting happens now we just type it in on and we can get it all instantly. The Chronicle Herald, a perennially bad newspaper, will have challenges in the years ahead in the new information world. The passing of the DN is more bad news than good news to the comical.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Bowl

Yay for the Giants killers. Totally enjoyable Super Bowl. I ended up going to Kokomo's with a friend. There were some people there we knew and it was a good time. I was driving and only had 2 beer, one in the first half and one in the second half. My friend didn't have to get up early for work so he had a few beers.

They had a good setup at Kokomo's. It was a pretty good crowd but there were seats too. There was free chili and chips on the tables. They had an enormous TV which was great. There were two local Budweiser girls who had a football toss for a free beer. I just barely missed. Along with the eye candy Bud provided a bunch of swag for some free draws. I ended up winning a Cleveland Browns t-shirt, a Budweiser beer mug and a Stella Artois bottle opener. They had some nicer stuff too like NFL jerseys and a replica helmet.

It was mostly Patriots fans there but there were a few besides me cheering for the Giants. One of the part owners of the bar was sitting at our long table. She was cheering for the Patriots. We had some good natured joking during the game as the lead changed hands a few times. I think she was more disappointed at the end when the Patriots lost than I would have been if the Giants had lost.

And how about that miracle throw and catch by Eli Manning to unknown David Tyree. Wow what a play! I couldn't believe it. Play of the decade. One of the greatest plays in memory, up there with the Franco Harris and Dwight Clark plays.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Trip to the dentist

I went to the dentist this week. I took a vacation day since I have some unused vacation from last year.

It was a new young dentist. She took over the office from the previous dentist who retired. I hadn't seen her before. I guess it's been a while since I've gone to the dentist. Three years according to their records. That's a long time to have put it off. I shouldn't have done that.

Fortunately things are looking good for my teeth. I got a long overdue dentists cleaning and my teeth look much better now. I did have a small cavity that I have to go back and get filled.

I find the routine cleaning a kind of pleasant experience. Your mouth looks and feels better after it's done. I've thought over the years that this is something a day spa should add, a basic cleaning and floss from a dental hygienist. I think that might be popular.

At the end the receptionist booked my next visit for the cavity. She also went over settling the visit. I could tell she was surprised when she got the printout from my insurance and said "Oh, you're 100 percent." I guess I don't look like a 100% dental coverage person or something. Plus if I'm 100% why go three years between visits. I do resolve to take better care of it going forward and go at least once a year. Under my benefits from work I can go back in 6 months for a routine cleaning and check if I want.